Our education system is unable to meet the needs of the society and the state. Although the policy makers of the government admit this in their speeches and statements, they do not seem to take any pragmatic measures to make that education up-to-date. Everything just continues as usual. Public universities are adding departments to teach subjects that have nothing to do with the job market.

According to a recent survey of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), 66 per cent or two-thirds of the students who pass out from colleges affiliated to National University, remain unemployed. Of them, 21 per cent get jobs after graduation or post-graduation while 7 per cent of the students are still pursuing post-graduate or technical education or training in any other subject. Besides, 3 per cent have been doing something on their own initiative. These figures are worrying.

BIDS conducted a survey over phone on a random selection basis of honours and postgraduate students of 54 government and private colleges in the country in 2017. The survey gathered information of 1,639 students, 202 heads of educational institutions and 233 employees working in educational institutions. Of those who are unemployed, 62 per cent are from departments other than the business administration department.

Students of the National University complain that they do not get any help from teachers or educational institutions in finding a job after graduation. Only 3 per cent of students said they have the opportunity to find a job in an educational institution. The total number of students in the colleges under the National University is about 2 million.

Every year 2 to 2.2 million young people enter the job market, a significant portion of them are highly educated. But not all of them get jobs. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the British magazine The Economist, almost half of the fresh job seekers with higher education in Bangladesh remain either unemployed or not getting the job to their standard every year.

According to the report, 47 per cent of graduates in Bangladesh are currently unemployed, compared to 33 per cent in India, 28 per cent in Pakistan, 20 per cent in Nepal and 7.8 per cent in Sri Lanka. The rate of educated unemployed is the highest in Bangladesh. And the problem is not just with national university students.

The job market is also not good for those who have undergraduate honours and postgraduate degrees from other public and private universities. On the other hand, our industries and businesses are importing skilled manpower from abroad. For this Bangladesh has to spend huge amount of foreign currency.

We need to think anew about higher education. What is the benefit of this education that is not useful in the job market? This waste cannot be accepted in the name of higher education. It is to be remembered, it is not only the family that invests in higher education, but also the state. It is the state that suffers due to the high number of educated unemployed youths.

In 2010, the national education policy was made with much fanfare. But even in the last 11 years, it has brought no positive results in national education. It is high time to rethink about the higher education as a whole.